British and Irish Lions 2021: Wales wing Josh Adams set to be away for baby's birth

By Gareth GriffithsBBC Sport Wales
Wales wing Josh Adams has scored 17 tries in 32 internationals
Wales wing Josh Adams has scored 17 tries in 32 internationals

Wales wing Josh Adams aims to make his family proud in South Africa with the British and Irish Lions this summer as he prepares to be away for the birth of his first child.

Adams will be on tour, with fiancee Georgia due to give birth in mid-July.

The family had to make a difficult decision on whether Adams would travel if the Cardiff Blues wing was selected.

"There were a number of conversations, we came to a decision if I was called upon then I would go," said Adams.

Players were asked before the tour party was selected whether there would be able to travel and England scrum-half Ben Youngs ruled himself out for family reasons.

Adams, 26, admits he had concerns before committing to the trip, with coming back just for the birth and returning to South Africa complicated because of Covid-19 quarantine and squad bubble restrictions.

"It has been concerning because my fiancee is going to be giving birth without me," said Adams.

"That's the conversations we've had with our families and between myself and Georgia. They've given me their full backing to go out there and do them proud.

"They are all behind me. I don't think it would have worked unless we sat down and had these conversations.

"Georgia has been unbelievable and I've had advice off family as well and I'm so happy I've had their blessing to go.

"I have their full support. They said this could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for myself."

Josh Adams has scored nine tries in 15 appearances for Cardiff Blues
Josh Adams has scored nine tries in 15 appearances for Cardiff Blues

Adams recognises being apart will be challenging with the squad flying out to South Africa on 28 June.

"It is always tough," said Adams.

"I have found it a lot tougher as the years have gone on, especially being away from Georgia and she is pregnant now also.

"It has been difficult but she has been fantastic. She understands how hard I have worked in the weeks and years gone by and is fully behind this decision."

Adams watched the tour party being announced in his house with Georgia and was thankful his name was read out first with the squad unveiled in alphabetical order.

"Thankfully Adams was the first name on the list and it settled the nerves, thank you to my parents for that," he said.

"I was delighted. I have not been able to take the smile off my face since they announced the squad. There were a few tears and I had my mum on the phone. All tears of happiness."

Adams has enjoyed a remarkable rise since being released by Scarlets. He made his name with Worcester after spending time on loan with Gloucestershire club Cinderford.

He was the English Premiership's leading try scorer during the 2017-18 campaign and made his Wales debut in 2018.

Adams was also leading try scorer at the 2019 World Cup and consolidated his Lions selection with an impressive end to Wales' Six Nations 2021-winning campaign.

Battling back

The 26-year-old missed the first two games of the tournament when he was suspended by Wales following a breach of Covid-19 squad protocols after attending a family gathering to celebrate news regarding his fiancée's pregnancy.

"It is fairly simple, I made an error of judgement, held my hand up and it was perfectly dealt with," said Adams.

"I had full support from all the coaches and players - (it) was brilliant.

Meet the Welsh players selected for the 2021 Lions tour

"Honesty is the best policy in those situations. You have to be honest with the coaches because they trust you and that trust was repaid because I was selected when I was eligible to play. They were terrific in the whole process

"As soon as I came back in it was business as usual. I have to thank everybody for that. I cracked on with things, I kept my head down and worked extremely hard in the two weeks I was not able to play.

"Thankfully I was back in the team against England, which was a good performance for us."

Adams missed victories over Scotland and Ireland before starting the final three games and scoring tries against England, Italy and France.

"By the France game, I'd had two games under my belt," added Adams.

"I'd had that match fitness in the bank and thought I was coming into form then."

Adams wants to continue playing before flying to South Africa and will be involved for Cardiff Blues against Dragons in the Rainbow Cup.

Questions have been raised by some about the merits of Wales' Lions continuing to play this season for their regions, especially following a serious knee injury suffered by George North which ruled him out of the tour.

"It's a funny one, every time we take the field, even in training, injuries are a part of it," said Adams.

"I was devastated for George. It is one of those things and you can't think too much of it.

"You have to play as if there wasn't anything on the horizon. You have to take each game as it comes and don't change anything, keep playing hard and hopefully you will be fit and ready when we depart.

"Playing games is important to get a bit of form and match fitness under your belt. That will help you when you go into camps."

Wales wing Josh Adams scored a try against South Africa in the 2019 World Cup semi-final defeat in Japan
Wales wing Josh Adams scored a try against South Africa in the 2019 World Cup semi-final defeat in Japan

Adams will also be hoping to prove he is worthy of a Lions Test spot after being named in the squad alongside fellow back three players Louis Rees-Zammit, Liam Williams, Stuart Hogg, Anthony Watson, Duhan van der Merwe and Elliot Daly.

"You have the warm-up games and there's a great opportunity to try and stick your hand up for that," said Adams.

"I'm sure we'll all be fighting for that position, but it'll be healthy competition and we'll be pushing each other."

Adams believes the Lions can return with a Test series win against the world champions, who have not played an international since their World Cup triumph in November 2019.

"I know they haven't played for a while, but they're a massive physical team," added Adams.

"They played some unbelievable rugby in Japan in 2019. Whoever is on the field come the Test matches, you know you're going to be up against it physically.

"But I think the squad that has been picked is capable of getting the win."

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